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DIGITAL PRODUCTS FROM The Old Farmer’s Almanac An Old Farmer’s Almanac Resource Almanac.com Almanac.com The Old Farmer’s Almanac 1121 Main Street P.O. Box 520 Dublin, New Hampshire 03444 603-563-8111 Copyright © 2009 by Yankee Publishing Inc. The Old Farmer’s Almanac America’s oldest continuously published periodical Published annually since 1792 Cooking Bring on the flavor! 34 easy recipes teach how and why to use 25 common spices & herbs in delicious family dishes. With lore and more, make cooking fun! Q G u i de t o G u i de t o Spices & Herbs in the Kitchen
d i g i t a l p r o d u c t s f r o m
The Old Farmer’s Almanac a n o l d f a r m e r ’ s a l m a n a c r e s o u r c e a l m a n a c . c o m
a l m a n a c . c o m
• The Old Farmer’s Almanac
1121 Main Street
P.O. Box 520
Dublin, New Hampshire
Copyright © 2009 by
Yankee Publishing Inc.
t h e o l d f a r m e r ’ s
a l m a n a c
America’s oldest
Cooking Bring on the flavor!
34 easy recipes teach how and why to use 25 common spices & herbs in delicious family dishes.
With lore and more, make cooking fun!
Q Guide to Guide to
Spices & Herbs in the Kitchen
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A ny cook will tell you that the secret to great food is great flavor, which usually results from using spices and herbs in correct portions and combinations.
For some cooks, getting the flavor right can be a challenge: How much spice is enough? How will these herbs taste together? Which is best—fresh or dried?
You’ll find the answers to these and other such questions right here. This fun, informative guide, created by the editors of The Old
Farmer’s Almanac, will greatly increase your culinary confidence about spices and herbs.
You’ll prepare tastier dishes and make more appetizing meals by using these reliable recipes and quick-reference charts—as well as have lots to talk about at mealtime after you surprise your family and friends with lore about each herb.
If you wish, print these pages and keep them in your favorite cookbook. We hope that you find this guide helpful; please let us know at
Almanac.com/CookingQuestions. And think of this as just the beginning: For additional recipes,
gardening information for growing your own, and a whole lot more, visit Almanac.com.
Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian, wine and tarragon make it French . . . [and] garlic makes it good.
–Alice May Brock, American author (b. 1941)
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Allspice Flavor Allspice tastes like a
blend of cinnamon,
nutmeg, and cloves.
Lore Christopher Columbus
the “finest smell of
it’s called kubaba.
Use allspice in pot roasts, stuffings, cakes, biscuits, pies, and
C a r a m e l - a p p l e T a r T
11⁄2 cups cake flour 1⁄2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
5 tablespoons sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
mix the first four ingredients together. Add a little water,
if necessary, to form a dough. Chill for 2 hours before use.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll out the dough to 1⁄16 inch and
press into a well-greased 10-inch tart pan. Set aside any extra
pastry for later use. Mix the remaining dry ingredients well.
Add the apples, mix well, and spoon into a pastry-lined tart
pan. With any remaining pastry, cut out shapes and layer
over the tart. Sprinkle with a little more cinnamon and brown
sugar, if desired. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until light brown.
Makes 12 servings.
mint-licorice flavor.
Lore Basil is considered sacred in India and precious to lovers in
Italy. It was once customary for Italian men to wear a sprig
of basil as a sign of their marital intentions. Romans believed
that cursing while sowing basil would ensure a good crop.
In the Kitchen
Use basil in tomato dishes, pesto and other sauces, and salad
B a s i l C a r B o n a r a
10 slices bacon 1⁄4 cup fresh basil leaves
5 cloves garlic
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan
1 pound pasta
Boil some water for cooking the pasta. Fry the bacon, drain,
and chop it into 1⁄4-inch pieces. Process or chop the basil and
garlic until finely minced. In a bowl, mix the eggs and half-
and-half, then add the bacon, basil mixture, and grated cheese.
Cook the pasta as directed, and drain. Immediately add the
sauce to the hot pasta. Stir lightly to mix. Cover and let sit for
2 to 3 minutes (to ensure that the egg mixture “cooks”). Toss
and serve at once with extra Parmesan. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Where salt is good,
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Bay Leaves Flavor Bay leaves have a
woodsy, pleasantly
bitter taste.
In the Kitchen
Use bay leaves with meat, fish, and poultry dishes, and in sauces.
C r a n B e r r y r e l i s h
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon 1⁄2 teaspoon ground allspice 1⁄2 teaspoon coriander 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cloves 1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 bay leaf
2 pears, peeled, cored, and diced
Heat the oil and sauté the onion, then add the vinegar, brown
sugar, spices, and bay leaf. Simmer 20 minutes, or until syrupy.
Add the cranberries and pears and simmer for another 15 min-
utes. Remove the bay leaf and serve at room temperature. Makes
3 to 4 cups.
Cardamom Flavor Cardamom has a mild ginger flavor.
Lore Cardamom, related to ginger, was used in old recipes for
pickled vegetables, fruits, and herring as well as custards,
spiced wines, liqueurs, and sauerbraten. It is also believed
to freshen breath and aid digestion.
In the Kitchen
Use cardamom in
cakes and pastries
(and instead of
nutmeg in pumpkin
pie), curries, and
s o u r C r e a m W a f f l e s
5 eggs 1⁄2 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup sour cream 1⁄4 cup (1⁄2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Beat the eggs and sugar together for 5 to 10 minutes with an
electric mixer. With a rubber spatula, alternately fold in half
of the flour, the cardamom, and the sour cream, and then the
remaining flour. Lightly stir in the melted butter and set the
batter aside for 10 minutes. Heat a waffle iron until a drop
of water sputters when dropped onto it. Pour about 3⁄4 cup of
the batter in the center of the hot iron. Close the top and cook
over direct heat for 5 minutes. Makes about 6 waffles.
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flavor similar to
that of parsley.
parsley and is native
disorders. Chervil’s
botanical name means
“the heart rejoices.”
In the Kitchen
sauces, and in egg, fish, veal, lamb, and pork dishes.
C a r r o T s W i T h G r a p e s
2 pounds carrots
2 cups seedless white grapes, halved
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
clean the carrots and cut into julienne strips. In a saucepan,
combine the carrots, basil, and garlic; add water to cover, and
cook for 20 minutes, or until tender. While the carrots are
cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan and add the chervil and
celery salt. When the carrots are cooked, drain; discard the
garlic. Add the carrots, grapes, and lemon juice to the butter,
stir to coat, and heat just until the grapes are warm. Serve as a
side dish with chicken or turkey. Makes 12 servings.
Wrap fresh herbs in damp paper tow-
els. Put them in a cool place where
they will keep for a few days. For lon-
ger storage, freeze or dry herbs.
for GreaT resulTs
Lore Celery seed is welcomed wherever
a bit of bitterness is desired.
Seventeenth-century Italians
plant called smallage.
In the Kitchen
Use celery seed with vegetables, eggs, meat, fish, and poultry.
h o r s e r a d i s h d r e s s i n G
2 cloves garlic, crushed 1⁄2 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon prepared hot mustard or ground mustard
4 tablespoons grated horseradish 1⁄2 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons wine vinegar 2⁄3 cup cottage cheese
salt, to taste
a blender and process until
smooth. Thin as desired with a
little water; add salt. This
makes a hearty dressing
over cabbage salad or
cooked vegetables.
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chives were also hung in homes
to ward off evil spirits. The
German word for chives is
Schnittlauch, which means
and cheese dishes; dressings, sauces
and gravies; and dips.
f r e n C h - s T y l e p o T a T o s a l a d
2 pounds whole boiled potatoes 1⁄4 cup white-wine vinegar, divided 1⁄2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
slice the cooked potatoes while they are still warm. Sprinkle
with half of the vinegar. Mix the rest of the vinegar with the
oil, mustard, salt, and pepper and pour it over the potatoes.
Toss with the chives and herbs. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Cilantro Flavor Cilantro has a mild flavor similar to that of parsley.
Lore Cilantro is the leaves of the coriander plant and was once con-
sidered to prevent baldness. Legend has it that pregnant women
have the best luck sowing it.
In the Kitchen
Use cilantro in soups, salads, and curries, and as a garnish.
G r e e n T o m a T o s a l s a
4 to 5 large green tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, seeded and roasted
2 jalapeños, seeded and roasted (optional)
2 small onions, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin 1⁄2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
salt and pepper, to taste
combine all of the ingredients (except salt and pepper) in a
food processor and chop coarsely. Season to taste with salt and
pepper and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to allow the flavors to
blend and develop. Remove from the fridge about 20 minutes
before serving. Makes about 3 cups.
When storing spices, be sure that
containers are airtight. Moisture can
cause ground spices to lump. Store
spices in a cool, dark place. Ground
spices will retain their best flavors for
about a year. Whole spices may last
for three to five years.
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sweet flavor.
tree) were used by
has also been used in sacred oils for anointing.
In the Kitchen Use ground cinnamon in baked goods, stewed fruits, and
vegetable dishes, and in spiced teas and coffees.
C o l d s T r a W B e r r y s o u p
1 quart fresh or frozen strawberries 1⁄3 cup orange juice 1⁄4 cup cranberry juice 1⁄2 cup yogurt (any kind)
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar
whipped cream, as garnish
mix all of the ingredients together (except the whipped cream
and mint leaves) and purée in a food processor or blender.
Chill for several hours to allow flavors to blend. Garnish each
serving with a dollop of whipped cream; more cinnamon, if
desired; and a mint leaf. Makes 4 servings.
Cumin Flavor Cumin has a salty-sweet
flavor similar to that of
to keep them faithful.
to protect the loaves
from being stolen by
stay close to home.
In the Kitchen Use cumin whole in yogurt dishes, soups, and breads. Use ground cumin in pork, rice, and sausage dishes, and in chilies and curries.
B l e n d e r G a z p a C h o
1 red bell pepper, seeded
1 small cucumber, peeled and seeded
2 cups vegetable juice (such as V-8)
1 cup salsa 1⁄4 cup chicken broth 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
hot sauce, to taste
chop the vegetables into small pieces. Combine all of the
ingredients in a large bowl, transfer to a blender or food pro-
cessor, and process in batches, aiming for a coarse purée. Re-
frigerate for at least 2 hours. (This is best if made a day ahead,
so that flavors can meld.) Makes 4 servings.
If you are a fan of low-sodium cook-
ing, substitute strong, flavorful herbs
and spices such as basil, black pepper,
cumin, curry, garlic, and oregano.
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Flavor Ginger has a sweet, fiery flavor.
Lore In the 1800s, a tincture of ginger (produced by steeping an
ounce of gingerroot over gentle heat in a pint of spirits for a
week) was an “expellant to purgative droughts” and a cure for
dishes, salad dressings, and soups.
m a p l e s y r u p C a k e
1 ⁄2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
21⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder 2⁄3 teaspoon baking soda 1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger 1⁄2 cup hot water
pecan or walnut halves, as garnish
preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an angel food cake pan.
Cream the butter with the sugar. Add the beaten eggs and
maple syrup. Sift together the dry ingredients and add, alter-
nating with hot water. Pour into the pan and bake for about 50
minutes. Garnish with pecan halves. Makes 12 servings.
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Garlic Flavor Garlic has a pungent, aromatic, mild to biting taste when
raw. The flavor mellows when it’s cooked.
Lore Garlic was believed to inspire courage, which is why ancient
Romans ate it before battle and Bolivian bullfighters car-
ried it into the ring. Aristotle considered consuming garlic
as a guard against hydrophobia, the fear of water. Folklore
advises hanging whole bulbs around the neck to cure a cold.
In the Kitchen
Use garlic in tomato dishes, breads, soups, dips, sauces, and
marinades, or with meats, poultry, fish, and vegetables.
G r i l l e d p o r T o B e l l o s
4 portobello mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, minced 1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme 1⁄2 teaspoon dried, crumbled rosemary 1⁄4 cup olive oil 1 ⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups cooked rice
rinse the mushrooms and
chop the stems. Mix the
garlic, thyme, rosemary,
and olive oil and drizzle the mixture over the caps. Com-
bine the remaining ingredients (except the cooked rice) with
the chopped stems in a small saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Baste the caps with the sauce, and grill (or broil) for 2 to 3 min-
utes per side. Serve with rice, with the remaining sauce on the
side. Makes 4 servings.
There are five elements: earth, air, fire, water, and garlic.
–Louis Diat, French chef (1885–1957)
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Mace Flavor Mace has a mild nutmeg flavor.
Lore Mace is the dried aril (lacelike covering over the shell) of
nutmeg; when fresh, it appears as pressed, flat blades. It is
most commonly used ground. Old recipes used mace spar-
ingly (often with cherries) because it was quite precious.
In the Kitchen
Use mace in doughnuts
and other baked goods,
in sauces, and with
chicken, creamed fish and
other seafood, and fruits.
m u l l i G a T a W n y s o u p
2 tablespoons butter
1 apple, peeled and sliced
1 cup diced cooked chicken 1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon curry powder 1⁄8 teaspoon ground mace
2 whole cloves
1 cup chopped cooked or canned tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
melt the butter in a large saucepan or stockpot over medium
heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, green pepper, apple, and
chicken and sauté until the onion is tender. Gradually stir in
the flour and curry powder. Add the remaining ingredients
and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the cloves.
Serve hot. Makes 6 servings.
Lovage Flavor Lovage smells lemony and
tastes like celery.
Lore Ancient Greeks and Romans chewed on lovage seeds to aid
digestion. Lovage can grow up to 7 feet tall, and its stalks make
good drinking straws.
In the Kitchen
Lovage complements soups and stews, rice and vegetable dishes,
and stuffings and salad dressings. Young stalks are sometimes
candied. The seeds can be sprinkled on breads and biscuits prior
to baking.
p i C k l e d C a r r o T s T i C k s
4 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 4-inch sticks
6 lovage sprigs
5 cloves garlic, thickly sliced
31⁄2 cups white or cider vinegar 1⁄2 cup sugar
stand the carrots upright in six sterilized pint-size canning
jars. Add a sprig of lovage to each jar. Divide up the pepper-
corns, mustard seeds, and garlic; sprinkle equal amounts into
each jar. Boil together the vinegar, 21⁄2 cups of water, and the
sugar until the sugar dissolves. Pour the hot liquid over the
carrots, covering them completely and leaving a 1⁄4-inch head
space. Seal and refrigerate for at least 1 week before using.
Makes 6 pints.
dishes an hour or less before serving.
Cooking them for too long may result in
an overpowering flavor.
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spirits of anyone who
Marjoram complements
almost any meat, fish, dairy, or vegetable dish that isn’t sweet.
Add it near the end of cooking to capture the most flavor.
s h r i m p , a r u G u l a , a n d C h i C o r y s a l a d
1 ⁄4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 onion, finely chopped 1⁄4 cup chopped scallions, including the green part 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 pound cooked, shelled, and deveined shrimp
3 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons rice vinegar 1⁄2 cup arugula leaves
1 bunch chicory, washed, stemmed, and dried
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and sauté the garlic, onion,
and scallions over medium heat for about 3 minutes, stirring
constantly. Add the shrimp and sauté for another 2 minutes. Stir
in the marjoram and cilantro. Remove from the heat and add the
lemon juice and vinegar. In a medium bowl, combine the aru-
gula and chicory. Top with the shrimp mixture. Makes 4 servings.
Mint Flavor Mint leaves have a fruity, pungent taste.
Lore The Ancient Greeks named mint after a mythical character,
Menthe. During the Middle Ages, powdered mint leaves were
used to whiten the teeth.
In the Kitchen
roast lamb or fish, and in
salads, jellies, or teas.
G a r d e n - f r e s h T a B B o u l e h
1 cup bulgur (cracked wheat)
1 cup chopped fresh parsley 1⁄2 cup chopped scallions
1 clove garlic, minced 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 large tomato, chopped 1⁄2 cup garbanzo beans, cooked
or canned
cover it with 11⁄2 cups of boiling
water; stir. Cover the bowl
with a towel and let it
stand for about
absorbed. Add the
pockets or with feta
cheese. Makes 6 servings.
the very smell of it alone recovers
and refreshes our spirits, as the taste stirs
up our appetite for meat.
–Pliny the Elder, Roman scholar (a.d. 23–79)
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Lore Early citizens of Connecticut whittled fake wooden nutmeg
seeds and sold them to gullible housewives, earning the state
the nickname “The Nutmeg
State.” Nutmeg was once
considered good for head
ailments and eyesight.
In the Kitchen Add nutmeg to sweet foods, such as pies, custards, and cakes; applesauce; eggnog; soufflés; and meat and vegetable dishes.
C a r r o T a n d z u C C h i n i m u f f i n s
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup canola oil
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup grated zucchini
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease 18 to 24 muffin cups or
line with paper. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, yogurt, and oil;
then stir in the carrots and zucchini. Set aside. In another bowl,
sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and nutmeg.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir until just
combined. The batter will be lumpy. Stir in the pecans. Spoon
the batter into the prepared muffin cups and bake for 15 to 20
minutes. Makes 18 to 24 muffins.
Oregano Flavor Oregano is
thyme and zestier than marjoram.
Lore Related to wild marjoram, oregano was used to cure “sour
humours” that plagued elderly farmers. The name oregano
is from the Greek words oros and ganos, meaning “joy of
the mountain.”
In the Kitchen Use oregano in any tomato dish, with summer squash or potatoes, in mushroom or bean dishes, or in a marinade for lamb or game.
i T a l i a n s a u s a G e p a s T a
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine or water 1⁄2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 pound pasta
grated Parmesan, as garnish
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil
in a skillet. Remove the sausage from the casings, crumble it
into the skillet, and brown. Remove and set aside the sausage,
then sauté the onion and garlic. Add the wine, followed by the
sun-dried tomatoes. Return the sausage to the skillet and add
the oregano. Cook the pasta as directed and drain, then toss
with the sauce and garnish with the Parmesan. Makes 6 servings.
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Paprika Flavor Paprika has a tangy-sweet flavor.
Lore Paprika is the national spice of Hungary and is essential to
goulash and other meat stews. Hungarian paprika, made from
the dried flesh of sweet red peppers, has a bright red color.
In the Kitchen Use paprika in stews, salad dressings, and omelets, and with fish.
s h r i m p C r e o l e
2 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 cups cooked white rice
in a large heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.
Add the onion, green pepper, and garlic and sauté 5 minutes,
or until the pepper is tender. Add the tomatoes and seasonings
and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and simmer for 10
minutes. Serve over white rice. Makes 6 servings.
Poppy Seed
sweet, nutty flavor.
Lore Poppy flowers are a symbol of sleep.
Legend has it that they grow where battles raged and where
England’s holy maid Margaret slew the dragon.
In the Kitchen Use poppy seeds in breads, cakes, pastries, and salad dressings.
Also try them with vegetables and noodles.
s p i n a C h - s T r a W B e r r y s a l a d
1 ⁄2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
11⁄2 teaspoons minced onion 1⁄4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1⁄4 teaspoon paprika 1⁄2 cup vegetable oil 1 ⁄4 cup cider vinegar
1 bag (10 ounces) fresh spinach, washed
1 pint strawberries, sliced thin
in a blender, combine the sugar, sesame seeds, poppy seeds,
onion, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, oil, and vinegar. Blend
well. If the dressing seems thick, add a few drops of water.
Remove the stems from the spinach and tear the leaves into
bite-size pieces. Place in a salad bowl. Arrange the strawber-
ries on top. Drizzle the dressing over the strawberries and
serve. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
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sweet flavor.
of the most common
plants on the hillsides
Use rosemary in poultry, lamb, and tomato dishes; in soups
and stews; and with vegetables. Try it finely chopped in breads
and custards.
r o s e m a r y C h i C k e n
21⁄2-pound frying chicken, quartered
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon salt 1 ⁄4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
8 small red potatoes, washed
2 medium fennel bulbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped 1⁄2 cup dry white wine
preheat the oven to 450°F. Arrange the chicken in a large
roasting pan and sprinkle with rosemary, salt, and pepper. Cut
the potatoes in half and cut the fennel bulbs into wedges that
equal the size of the potato pieces. In a mixing bowl, toss the
potato and fennel pieces with the olive oil and garlic. Place
the vegetables around the chicken and pour the wine over all.
Put the pan in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to
350°F. Roast for an hour, basting occasionally with juices.
Chicken should be golden brown and the vegetables tender.
Makes 4 servings.
Sage Flavor Sage has a strong and warm taste reminiscent of turkey stuff-
ings prepared for the holidays.
Lore Sage was the herb of Zeus, the ruler of Mount Olympus in
Greek mythology, and was thought to promote strength and
longevity. Legend had it that it quickened the memory and
relieved trembling.
Use sage in cheese dishes, stuffings, soups, salads, and pickles,
and with beans and peas. Sage is an excellent substitute for salt in
low-sodium diets.
r o a s T e d C o r n W i T h h e r B B u T T e r
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives 1⁄2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
6 large ears corn, with husks on
mix all of the herbs into the softened butter, form into a stick
or log, and refrigerate until firm. Sprinkle the corn husks with
water and preheat the broiler or grill. Roast the corn on a baking
sheet under the broiler or
on the (covered) grill,
turning until all sides
and silk and serve with the
chilled herb butter. Makes
Why should a man die, when he can go to
his garden for sage? –10th-century saying
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Lore The word “tarragon” originates from the French word estragon,
or “little dragon,” because of the serpentine appearance of its
roots. It was considered soporific and good for the breath.
In the Kitchen
Use tarragon with meats, eggs, poultry, seafood, and pasta, and in
salad dressings, marinades, and sauces.
h e r B - s T u f f e d p a s T a
8 ounces jumbo pasta shells
8 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces ricotta cheese
salt and pepper, to taste 1⁄2 cup bread crumbs
preheat the oven to 400°F.
Grease a casserole.
seasonings. Stir the
mixture. Arrange the
Makes 6 servings.
Lore The Old Farmer’s Almanac once published this 15th-century
folk remedy for headache: “Heat hillwort [thyme] and sysell
[vinegar], and put it in your nostrils that the odor may go to
the brain.”
Use thyme in casseroles, soups, stews, and ragouts, and with
eggs, potatoes, fish, and green vegetables.
l e n T i l s a n d l a m B
2 pounds boned lamb
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme 1⁄2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon salt 1 ⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
cut the lamb into cubes and brown it in the oil in a large
stewpot. Add 4 cups of water and the lentils (no presoaking
required), then add the onion, garlic, and seasonings. Cover
and simmer for 2 hours. Add the carrots and cook for another
20 to 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Makes 6 servings.
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Turmeric Flavor Turmeric has
be mildly antiseptic.
In the Kitchen
Use turmeric with eggs; in chutneys, relishes, and pickles; and in
rice and bean dishes.
s W e e T m u s T a r d p i C k l e s
12 small cucumbers, sliced
11⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
6 cups sugar
1 tablespoon turmeric
2 quarts apple cider vinegar
put the vegetables into a bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Let
stand overnight. In the morning, rinse and drain. Combine the
flour, sugar, turmeric, and mustard in a pot. Stir in the vinegar,
and cook until thickened, constantly stirring. Pour the veg-
etables into the mixture, adding more vinegar, if necessary, to
cover. Simmer for 30 minutes, then process in sterilized glass
jars. Makes 4 to 6 quarts.
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h e a l T h B e n e f i T s o f s p i C e s a n d h e r B s
Allspice Relieves indigestion
Basil Relieves insomnia
Cardamom Eases congestion
be careful because they tend to burn
quickly. As soon as the aroma is re-
leased, remove the spice from the
heat. Continue to shake and stir the
spice for several minutes.
for GreaT resulTs
s y m B o l i C m e a n i n G o f h e r B s
Herb Meaning
nc .
Guide to Spices & Herbs in the Kitchen B 16 N Almanac.com
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Special Mixes s p i C y C h i C k e n r u B
2 teaspoons chili powder 1 teaspoon ground oregano 1 teaspoon cilantro leaves, dried and crumbled 1⁄2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
combine and store in an airtight container. When ready to use, mix a small amount with water to form a paste. Rub on the poultry and cook.
p u m p k i n p i e s p i C e B l e n d
1 ⁄3 cup cinnamon 1 tablespoon ground ginger 1 tablespoon nutmeg or mace 11⁄2 teaspoons ground cloves 11⁄2 teaspoons allspice
combine and store in an airtight container. Add 1 to 11⁄ 2 teaspoons of this mix to pumpkin pie filling.
B r e a k f a s T s p i C e s h a k e r
1 cup sugar 3 tablespoons cinnamon 1 teaspoon nutmeg or mace 1 teaspoon cardamom
combine and store in an airtight container. Sprinkle on pancakes, toast, or oatmeal.
One tablespoon of fresh herbs is equal
to one teaspoon of dried herbs.
for GreaT resulTs C u r r y p o W d e r
4 tablespoons ground coriander 3 tablespoons ground turmeric 2 tablespoons ground cumin 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon ground ginger 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds 1 teaspoon chili powder 1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
combine and store in an airtight container. Add to chicken or egg salad or rice, or use to make meat or vegetable curry.
f a j i T a B l e n d
4 tablespoons chili powder 2 tablespoons ground cumin 2 teaspoons ground oregano 2 teaspoons garlic salt
combine and store in an airtight container. Sprinkle on fajita meat or stir into meatloaf or burgers for a spicy kick.
s e a f o o d s p i C e
2 tablespoons allspice 2 tablespoons celery salt 2 tablespoons ground mustard 1 tablespoon ground ginger 1 tablespoon paprika 3⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
combine and store in an airtight container. Add to seafood salads and chowders, or sprinkle on fish fillets.
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Guide to Spices & Herbs in the Kitchen B 17 N Almanac.com
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Allspice Cinnamon or a dash of nutmeg or mace
Basil Marjoram, oregano, or thyme
Cardamom Ginger
Cinnamon Nutmeg or allspice
Marjoram Basil, oregano, or thyme
Rosemary Thyme or tarragon
Sage Marjoram or rosemary
Herb Bouquets Herb bouquets, or bouquets garnis (“gar-
nished bouquets”), are used to flavor soups,
stews, and chowders as well as poached
chicken and fish. For the recipes below,
put the dried herbs and spices into a 4-inch
square of cheesecloth and tie securely. Al-
ways remove the bouquet before serving.
C h i C k e n B o u q u e T
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon tarragon
1 tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon thyme
B e e f B o u q u e T
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon parsley 1⁄2 teaspoon crushed lovage leaves
f i s h B o u q u e T
1 bay leaf
2 black peppercorns
1 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon parsley